Why I Don’t Have “Open Fever”

The 2014 CrossFit Games season is upon us. The Open beings this week. First I’d like to say that I truly love this time of year. The energy and fun of the Games Season is simply amazing.

Now I’m going to tell you a not-so-secret. I do not have “Open Fever.” I don’t think you should either. There is really only one excusable group of athletes that (in my opinion) are allowed to have Open Fever.

Jason Khalipa, possibly leaderboarding. He's allowed.

Jason Khalipa, possibly leaderboarding. He’s allowed.

I’m defining Open Fever as a condition which occurs for 7 weeks around the CrossFit Open. This condition manifests itself in many ways, including over training, general bad mood, neurosis, and a sore finger from checking the leader boards frequently. For my purposes, over training here can mean one of two things. The first being an athlete doing the week’s Open WOD 2 or more times, on top of or in lieu of their regular training. The second being the athlete that decides one week before the open that it’s time to REALLY WORK ON *insert skill here* or their motor.

Open Fever is allowable for athletes on the bubble. This means the athlete may or may not make Regionals. This athlete may have missed by a few spots last year, or just made it by the skin of their teeth. This athlete may have improved exponentially over the past year and has tested last year’s Open WODs and has come up with Regionals level scores.  Open Fever is also allowable for athletes who are competing to make it onto a Regionals team. Though, these athletes could be lumped in with the above, as they need high individual scores to propel their box and team to the top of the leader boards. The extra rep these athletes may perform may propel them onto a team, or right to Regionals.

I get it. I understand we all want to show our best show on the leader boards. I also think we need to take a step back and ask ourselves what the Open means to us, and evaluate what the Open is meant to test — AND if we want to be tested.

Competing with your team.

My box-mates, testing their fitness at a local throwdown.

The Open is amazing. CrossFit has put together something great, that just keeps getting better. 5 weeks and 5 WODs to test our fitness. Every box pulls together during this time and has a blast. Most set aside a few hours a week to have an Open party.  Athletes come in and do the work out for judges, and then hang out together afterwards. The Open really builds on our sense of community. Most boxes also encourage everyone at the box to sign up, and throw their hat into the ring. I love this idea, personally. It’s getting new and old crossfitters together for the same “cause.” The Open is meant to test our fitness. For new crossfitters, it will set a baseline to look back on. For old crossfitters, we can see our improvement throughout the sport.

Now that I’ve sung the praises of the Open, let me tell you why I don’t have Open Fever.

  1. I’m “old,” (34) asthmatic, and am 4 months off of an injury. Read this as: there is not even a snowball’s chance in hell I would make it to Regionals. You might think this is all one big excuse. But it’s not. Why? See reason 2.
  2. My goals for 2014 have absolutely nothing to do with CrossFit. My current goals as an athlete are to prepare for and compete in my first Weightlifting competition, do a muscle up, and learn to walk on my hands.  My current training is programmed for those goals. I typically only do one WOD per week, for fun.
  3. Even if that snowball had a chance, and I decided that I DID want to make a run at Regionals, I simply don’t have the motor, or the time to build that motor. I’m also missing some important skills from my toolkit. Conditioning does come back quickly, yes, but not in less than a month.

Here’s what I think you, me, and the regular crossfitters of the world should think about to keep ourselves from Open Fever and to turn in our best performances:

  • Commit to only doing the Open WODs once.
  • Commit to the Open WOD being just another WOD in your week of workouts.
  • Don’t do it Thursday night unless your schedule precludes you from doing it at another time. Do it Saturday or Sunday. Allow yourself to read up on the strategies coming out from top coaches. Even though these stratigies are geared towards elite level athletes, we can still take a page out of that book and maybe get an extra rep or two. In this case, it’s okay to be voraciously reading about CrossFit at work. ;)
  • Compete with your box. For example, my box is set up to judge the WOD from 2-5pm on Sundays. Everyone who wants to be judged must register for that time. Get your box-mates to sign up for the same time you do. Ask your friends to come watch and cheer (if allowed at your box.) You’ll have a great time, and the cheering and energy will help you push out those extra reps. Get caught up in THIS energy. This is good energy.
Me and Camber. Swolemates for life.

Me and Camber. Swolemates for life.

  • Don’t let “no-reps” get you down. If you get no-repped, move on. If you don’t know why you were no-repped, ask your judge right away. They should be able to give you a quick cue that will help make sure you are meeting movement standards.
  • Have a simple goal around the Open if you need something to shoot for. Complete all 5 WODs. Complete all movements in all 5 WODs. Do more chest to bar pull ups than you did last year.
  • Keep your own yearly fitness goals in mind.  The Open tests our fitness, it’s meant to test and show improvement from year to year. Keep in mind though, that your goals may not align with this. If your goal was to increase your snatch 50lbs, and you put up +60lbs, you met your goal and then some. Don’t let that get overshadowed.

Yes, I will be participating in the Open. Why? Because I want to see what I can do. But will I be biting my fingernails to the quick over the results? Nope. Will I be doing these workouts more than once? Nope. Will I enjoy the community at my box and cheer on everyone participating? Yes.  Will I have a great time? Yes. Do I love CrossFit? Yes.


**Photos: Khalipa, by Ali Samieivafa, Me and Camber, by bigm141414, Boxmates photo taken by me!

Tragedy and Community

Back in November, I was about 10 feet away when tragedy struck class 136 at the GoRuck Light in Atlanta. A team member and now friend, was critically injured in front of us. Our Cadre (ex-Special Forces military) sprung into action, 911 was called, and our friend was carted away in an ambulance. Afterwards, Cadre called us into a group and we talked. He said, “We never expected anything like this to happen. We can do one of two things. We can give you your patches now, and disburse, or we can choose to finish the ruck without a time hack back to Centennial Park.” We all looked at each other, and almost in unison, picked up our rucks to continue.

Later in the evening, I was thinking about what happened. Playing the scene over and over in my head. My prevailing thought, and realization that night was this:

Sometimes bad shit happens. Sometimes bad shit happens to you. It’s the way you deal with those things that matter.

The next day, I received an invitation to a secret Facebook group, where our class (about 60 of us) could keep track of our friend’s health, and see what we could do to help him. By the end of the week I believe we raised over $2000 that went to his family to help them buy plane tickets to visit in the hospital, hotel rooms, food, etc. I was a member of “Team Everywhere-but-here,” but other local members of class 136  went to visit him in the hospital. Some members helped arrange better hotel rates. Some members helped be points of contact for the family. At about the week mark, the larger GRT (GoRuck Tough) community and GRHQ was involved. The GoRuck community is notorious for being a family. Whether you were “boots on the ground” in class 136 or part of the larger community, we banded together to help one person through one bad thing.  I am proud to be a member of the GoRuck community, and can’t wait to earn my GRT patch on April 25th. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about that event in the past week, after hearing about the injury of Kevin Ogar. There are people saying it’s CrossFit’s fault he was injured. I think when bad things happen, sometimes we like to point fingers. Not necessarily in a malicious way, but we’re trying to protect each other. I don’t want to fuel any negativity. The wisest words I have heard on the issue, from Coach Ursula Garza Papandrea:

I have only once even heard of this degree of an injury in weightlifting suffered by Kevin Ogar. In 1994 at the WWC, a male weightlifter was paralyzed dropping the bar during the jerk due to a faulty platform construct . This level of severity of injury is extraordinarily rare and remains to be so even among crossfitters and other athletes that perform the lifts. We do ourselves no favor as weightlifters by pointing to crossfitters and saying they somehow are the problem; just as we don’t want anyone to point to the lifts themselves and identify that as the problem. I have heard that he slipped on a plate on the floor, could be untrue, but would make this an avoidable accident and even more tragic, if that is possible. Support for Ogar, support for his direct and broader community, and support for the sport of weightlifting is what we should focus on. I would guess any halterophile would want that and by all accounts I have read Ogar was one. Whether you like it or not, we are now all inextricably connected through our love and appreciation for the sport of weightlifting. Please don’t let this accident become a fuel for negativity, blaming, or even self promotion. Instead let’s help him and his family out by showing love and support for him.

Sometimes bad things happen. It’s how we deal with them that matters. Community is what matters. The CrossFit community matters to me. These are the people I choose to spend a few hours a day with. Before CrossFit, I was never a part of such a strong community. My box, CrossFit Hell’s Kitchen IS part of my family. We work hard to foster this atmosphere at CFHK. As a coach and an athlete, I couldn’t think of a better box to work or play at. Extending to the larger community, of CrossFitters in general, we are all family. Nothing proves this more than $219,000 (at this moment) raised that is going directly to Kevin, and his medical bills. Kevin was injured 5 days ago. 5 days. The community responded with “How can I help?” “What can I do?” “What does he need?” Just thinking about this gives me chills.

CrossFit and GoRuck both do a really great job of making community important. Always. Not just when something bad happens.

So what can we do? As CrossFitters, as Ruckers, as HUMANS; we can take tragedy and turn it into grace.

How can we do this? 

  • Do what you can.  If we want to help, find out how you can help. Sometimes the best way is donating money.
  • Stay positive. Don’t foster negativity in your life.
  • If you pray; pray. If you hope; hope.
  • Never give up.
  • Pay it forward. If you drop a dime in the street, don’t pick it up. Believe that someone who needs it will pick it up.


 *** I am in no way financially affiliated (other than in the “Shut up and take my money! way) with these sites, but should you want to help or learn about some of the organizations and causes I’ve mentioned you can do so here:

Green Beret Foundation

Kevin Ogar 

What Are You Training For?

Hi! I know I’ve been absent from the blog. I haven’t really had much to say. But now, I have something to say. Moreover, something to ask. What are you training for?

I’ve been thinking for the past few months (sidelined for the past 6 weeks due to an injury; it’s my first week back!) about training, and focus. We’ve all seen the videos on Youtube of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson shouting “FOCUS!”


Training needs focus. Is your training important to you? I hope you’re answering yes. If you’re not… well… think about that for a minute.

“Yes, Dani, my training is important to me!” you say.

Great. My next question is, what are you training for?

“I want to be better.” Is the typical response.

Better at what? Life? Don’t we all. What do you want to be better at? CrossFit?


Being better at CrossFit is too broad a goal. Yes, in CrossFit we are Jacks and Jills of all trade, masters of none. But to truly get better at CrossFit, we need to assess our weaknesses. We even need to assess if it’s CrossFit we WANT to get better at. Now, don’t get your undies in a bunch. If you want to get better at Snatching and Clean & Jerking, both of which are big components of CrossFit, there is a need to practice and focus on those movements. Here’s a real life example of what not to say to me:

Dani: Hey Athlete XYZ, lookin’ good on the platform. What are you working on?

Athlete XYZ: Right now, Jerks.

Dani: Oh, great! What program are you following?

Athlete XYZ: Um… I don’t know. Whatever Athlete ABC programs for me.

GAH. I have absolutely no problem with picking a program at random and working on it. Typically, these programs come from places like Catalyst Athletics, The Outlaw Way, or The NC Lab; Or great coaches like Glen Pendlay or Bob Tankano.  But WHY are you doing that programming? Can we really see results when you don’t know what you’re working for? I think we can see some results — but I think we are doing ourselves a disservice as athletes if we don’t have focused results. The above conversation got me upset, because the athlete didn’t have personal goals. Athlete XYZ is just following blindly. What if the plan ABC gave XYZ doesn’t work his weaknesses?

I think a lot of us have a bit of training ennui after a year or two of CrossFit. This isn’t the fault of CrossFit or its ideals in any way. CrossFit is what keeps us lively. It keeps us interested. But we’re at a point where PRs get harder and harder to hit. We’re chasing those last few difficult skills (Muscle Ups anyone?) We want to see the same amazing things we saw the first few months of CrossFit (without the full month solid DOMS!)  To do this, I think we need focus.

Here’s my story and how I came to think about training and focus. I decided a few months back to start a Weightlifting cycle. I’ve been really into the lifts lately so I started researching cycles that I might like to try. I wasn’t planning on starting until after a competition I had in October. Then I got injured, so the start date got pushed back. I canvassed some smart friends and said, “Hey, I’m thinking I’m going to start this cycle, because I think it will help me get better as a weightlifter.”

I got some solid feedback. Then a friend who is a weightlifting coach asked me some questions, and gave me the best compliment sandwich I’ve ever gotten.

He said “This program looks solid, I like the volume, but based on your goals, I would like to see less power movements. Try this other program as an example. If you want to stick to your first cycle, it is solid, though.” 

Yeah. He showed me focus. So now, let’s figure out what you are training for.

What do you want to work on:

Do you want to be faster? Do you want to be stronger? Do you want to be more bendy? Do you want that muscle up so bad you can taste it? (NOTE: “Everything” is not an answer to this question.)

What do you need to get yourself to where you want to be:

Let’s take the muscle up, for example. Do you have a strict chest-to-bar close-grip palms-to-you pull up? Do you have a strict dip?

Pick some S.M.A.R.T. Goals:

These goals have to be small and manageable. Keeping with the above example, let’s say you have a great pull up, but no dip. Your first goal would be to do an unassisted ring dip (or five.)  You can also have another goal to work a muscle up progression working on the strength and skill needed to keep a false grip on the rings. Right there, you’ve got a good amount of work to add on to your weekly WODs.

Plan it:

Once you have your goals, write out how you plan to achieve them. Keep in mind they have to be S.M.A.R.T. How many times a week are you going to work each goal? How long do you expect to work on each goal for until you see results? Be honest with yourself.

Stick to your plan, and document your results:

Carry your plan with you always. As soon as you finish your work, write down what you did, how long you worked for, and any other thoughts you had. Did you sleep well the night before? Are your shoulders beat up from a WOD yesterday?  I would plan to stick with a group of goals for 6-8 weeks before making any major changes. This way you have enough time to see some results.

Evaluate your results:

Did you meet your goals? Why or why not? Do you now need to add complexity? (See step #1)

Have fun out there, and let me know how it goes!

2013 – The Year of Dani


Why The Year of Dani? Because I’m thinking positive. Great things are going to happen this year. I’ve got a lot of good things that are starting to blossom and I’m excited to see what this new year can bring. Here are my big goals for 2013.


  • 225lbs back squat (currently 185lbs)
  • 190lb front squat (currently 155lbs)
  • 250lb deadlift (currently 200lbs)
  • 100lb overhead press (currently 90lbs)
  • 135lb bench press (currently 120lbs)
  • 150lb clean and jerk (currently 120lbs)
  • 115lb snatch (currently 90lbs, and awful.)
  • 5 Handstand PushUps – kipping and non kipping
  • 1 muscle up
  • Failure goal Top 500 score in the North East region CrossFit Open

In the coming weeks, I’ll give some more detail around how I’m going to accomplish these goals. For now, getting stronger and working on my skills!

General Fitness

  • Complete the Poconos Civilian Military Combine on May 18th sub 2.5hrs
  • Complete the GoRuck Challenge on March 30th and become GoRuck Tough!

Both of these are going to be incredible challenges. I’m up to the task.


  • Support above goals, first and foremost
  • Eat Gluten free 95%
  • Complete a Whole 30 starting on January 21st
  • Find a pre and post workout plan that works for me

I’ll do these by eating paleo most of the time. I need to be much more honest with myself about my choices here. Anything that doesn’t support my fitness goals isn’t worth it, unless it’s a very rare cheat.


  • Pass the CSCS exam on 2/2
  • Go minimal
  • Reduce debt
  • Finish writing my screen play
  • Practice Guitar
  • More on these to come…

    Let’s do this.

2012 Goals and Highlights

Out with 2012. In with 2013. A wise friend said to me last week that 2013 will be the year of Dani. I’m pretty psyched about that because a lot of things are starting to really come together for me. Before my grand plan about 2013, here’s my 2012 recap.

First, I’d like to address that I had some pretty unrealistic strength goals. I also had a few setbacks which prevented me to really work on these. My back went wonky pretty much every time I got under the bar at high weight for a back squat. So now, I’m really concentrating on form, and sticking at lower than my 1RM until I can walk away from a squat workout unscathed.


  • PASS the level 1 CrossFit trainer certification Done! I also took the Powerlifting Certification, Attitude Nation seminar, Mobility Certification, and attended the Outlaw Training Camp.
  • 1 dead hang unassisted pull up Nope. But I do have a solid dead hang chin up, and can string 5ish kipping pull ups.
  • 10 handstand pushups EPIC FAIL. I think my progress on these reverted. However, I was able to hit a one armed handstand last week.
  • Add 100lbs to my deadlift(currently 175lbs) and back squat(currently 175lbs)Insert unrealistic strength goals here. I have not recently tested my deadlift or back squat. Last time my DL was tested I pulled 205 Sumo, and 200 conventional. These numbers are fairly old. We’re retesting a good number of skills in the coming week or two so I’m hoping to see progress. My backsquat is holding at 185lbs for now.
  • Add 50lbs to my overhead press(currently 85lbs) and bench press(currently 115lbs)The illusive overhead press. I finally (in October) hit 90lbs on my OHP. My BP is still at 115, but is being tested this week. I think I can hit 120.
  • 100lb Snatch(currently 65lb)90lbs, but VERY UGLY.
  • 150lb Clean and Jerk(curently 100lb)120lb C&J, beautiful.
  • RUN a 5kYup. Also did the Civilian Military Combine and my first Crossfit Competition.
  • flexibility — I used to be able to do both front splits– get them back!nope


  • Find a Pulmonologist and get my asthma under control so I can run without my lungs holding me backFound a doctor. Didn’t like him. On the search for a new one.
  • Take care of my back. whatever it takes. Research ways to strengthen my posterior chainSeems like doing reverse hypers, GHD sit ups and Glute Ham Raises are helping me out a lot here.
  • Eat paleo 80% of the time. Stay gluten free 90%.I think this went a little off the tracks. I was paleo 70% of the time and GF 75% of the time.
  • Practice Radical self acceptanceYES.
  • Ask for help when I need itYep!
  • MeditateI’ve gotten into a good short meditation routine. I would like to expand this in the coming year.


  • Read and complete two courses from MIT Open CourseWare FAIL
  • Read 35 books read 37
  • Pay off debt by April, and stay debt free through the end of the year fail. Have a little bit of dough still left on my credit card. But I was debt free through the summer.
  • Sort/Purge/Donate/Sell items I don’t need/want/use Did a lot of this.


2012 Lows:
My stupid back. STILL. I think I need to realize that I am dealing with a chronic injury. I need to really WORK at being normal. I need to stop feeling bad for myself and HTFU.

Nutrition. I have made so much progress on this front in the past year. But not as much as I want. I’m looking forward to making some adjustments in the new year.

Lack of motivation. You may think that I’m the “get after it” type. But really, I’m faking it till I make it. Some things I continue to tell myself I want, but constantly throw up roadblocks so I can’t do them. I’ve done a lot of work on this in the past few months — but I still need some work. Onward.

2012 High Points:
My CFHK family. I love the group of people I work with and work out with.

Coaching. Our head coach has given me the opportunity to coach classes. I currently coach 5 regular WOD classes per week and 1 mobility class, which I program.

Completing the CMC. This was an amazing experience. I have to thank my friend Sophia for helping push me when I needed it. I could never have imagined 10 years ago that this would be the type of woman I am. But I love this me.

The Garden State Open. I competed in my first Crossfit competition. It was fantastic. I got my ass handed to me but in the best way possible. This competition taught me that if I work for something hard enough, I will make it.

My friends. Old and new. Some of you have really lifted my spirits and saved my ass. Thank you.

Next, 2013 goals…

*Photo Credit*

The Garden State Open. The Recap.

Last weekend I participated in my first CrossFit competition. The Garden State Open at CrossFit 908. I was participating in the Women’s scaled division. This means that I was doing less weight or a less complex movement than the Women’s RX’d (prescribed) division. Looking at the WODs, I could have done RX’d. But I would not have been very successful, and this being my first competition, I wanted to have fun.

My awesome Mom was supposed to be my ride out to Jersey, but because of the storm, she couldn’t get gas and had to work through the weekend as her nursing facility didn’t have power. I ended up renting a car and driving over myself. I was hesitant to go alone. I was competing with two others from my box, but I wanted someone with me to keep me on the up and up. This was a true exercise in confidence and mental fitness.

Saturday morning, picked up the rental car (with gas!) and headed out to NJ at 7:25. This was a little later than I had hoped, but the computers were down at the rental place, so they had to hand write everything. Got to NJ with no issues. Parked the car at 8:05, with 10 min to spare before the athlete’s meeting. Checked in. Got my t-shirt. I still can’t believe I now own a shirt that says I’m an athlete.

As soon as the athlete’s meeting started, they said a bunch of people had to move their cars. I was one of them. This was stressful, because I ended up missing the first 1.5 wods worth of standards. I was ok though, because I had studied the standards pre-competition. Once that was done, they had to re-jigger the heats due to 20% of the athletes not being able to make it.

I was really nervous and dreading WOD 1.
WOD #1 – For Time (15 min time cap)
1 Mile Run
30 Deadlifts (MRX-225#, WRX-155#) (MS-155#, WS-95#)
50 Box Jumps (M24?, W20?)

I was in heat 5. (all women’s scaled) This was the WOD I was dreading. I HATE running.

We are brought out to the starting line, and suddenly, I’m running. The pack is moving away from me, and I tried not to let it get to me. The first 400m was up hill. Then a little flat, then a downhill, then flat, then uphill to the finish. I figured if I could at least keep the woman in front of me in my sights, I’d be ok. I lost her for the last 600m or so. I was really out there on my own, but the judges on the course were cheering me on, and that was nice. At first I thought, “Eff them. They Think I’m slow.” But then I thought You’re doing great, just keep going. They WANT you to succeed.” At the end of the run I got in the door and looked at the clock when I reached my deadlift station. 11:06. (previous mile was in 11:42 when I tested this WOD at the box) I think I probably came in the door at 11:04 — took me a couple of seconds to get to my station. So I banged out the deadlifts. First set of 10, then 8, then 8, then 4. I then strategized to do step-ups instead of box jumps. I knew I could just crank through the step ups not stopping. Since it was legal to do step ups, i did them. and didn’t stop. Got cut off at 44 step ups. I was pretty psyched with my mile time, and the dead lifts didn’t feel as horrid as they did when I did the WOD previously. Progress!

After I was done, I drink my progenex, some coconut water and grabbed some pulled pork with cabbage salad from the food truck that was there. Tasty and Paleo! Had about an hour in between the first and second WODs. Found out that I wasn’t in last place. WOOHOO. at this point, 20/21.

WOD 2:
Ascending ladder, every min on the min (50 sec work/10 sec transition)
5 Burpees
1 Clean (squat or power)
1 Snatch (squat or power)
STARTING WEIGHTS: MRX-115# WRX-65#, MS-65# WS-33#. 12 bars total. Men’s bars increase 10 lbs. per station and women’s bars increase by 5 lbs. per station. If a lift is missed, it can either be attempted again or the athlete can cash out burpees in the remaining time for a fraction of points that might determine a tiebreaker. If athlete successfully completes all movements at final bar, can complete max snatches (1 point each) or burpees (1/100 of a point).

This was easy. up until I failed. I failed on my snatch at 80lbs. Same place I failed in practice. I’m pretty sure I would have had it, but they were using small plates up until the bar was 65lbs — so you weren’t setting up on the ground each time. This fatigued my back. But, given that when I tried to do this WOD at our box, with no other workout. Also, at 10lbs under my 1 rep max, I’m not too disappointed that I couldn’t get that bar up. I could clean 80lbs all day, though! I finished 12th in this WOD. So was 16/21 when all was said and done.

At this point my back and hamstrings started to cramp up, so i spent some time during the first heats of WOD 3 with the lacrosse ball.

I was in heat 7 for WOD3.
WOD #3 – Chipper (10 min time cap)
50 Wallballs to 10? target (MRX-20# WRX-14#, MS-14# WS-10#)
40 Weighted OH lunges (MRX-45# WRX-25#, MS-35# WS-10#)
30 Thrusters (MRX-95# WRX-65#, MS-65# WS-45#)

This one was weird for me. I’m used to 14lb wall balls to a 9′ target. I got a TON of no reps. Either the ball wouldn’t be completely over the line, or it would go higher than hit lower. UGH. The lunges sucked, but I repped them out. I even no repped myself on rep 18 because I knew my knee didn’t touch the floor. I guess I should have just let it slide, but I couldn’t. I should be less honest. The thrusters BLEW. I was 7 reps shy when time was called. Ended the day at 17th/21. Pretty happy with that.

My two other gym-mates both podiumed. Dave got 3rd in the Men’s RX division and Euan got 2nd in the scaled division. Go team CFHK! These guys are both an inspiration. I can definitely take some lessons from them. Not only are they beasts in the gym, these guys are top notch, and incredibly warm and supportive. Shout out to Dave’s wife Erica, Euan’s wife Maz (she took the snatch picture and the team photo!) Kyle, and Nicole for coming out and cheering us on.

Welcome back, and a Paleo Challenge!

Ok, admittedly, blog posting hasn’t been a priority, but I’m back. What spurred this on? Some great new progress and a Paleo challenge at CrossFit Hell’s Kitchen

So far, I’ve done some pretty cool stuff at the box since I’ve been “gone.” Here are some new skills:
Stringing double unders (5-10 at a time, if I’m lucky)
Stringing kipping pull ups (3-4 at a clip when rested, 1-2 when tired)
Pistol! (only on my right leg)
Deadlift PR: 225#
Front Squat PR: 145#
Overhead Squat PR: 115#
Snatch PR: 90#
C&J stands at 115# (but I’ve never been able to reproduce that number…)
KB Swings without wrenching my back.

I attribute this last one to GHD sit ups and Reverse Hypers after every WOD. I’ve been doing 30 GHD sit-ups and 3×10 Reverse Hypers with 20# added weight. In the coming weeks, I’m planning on upping the sit-ups to 40 and the weight to 30lbs.

Now, on to the fun.
on my fridge...

As it states, this is currently residing on my fridge. I’ve been working on power output production with Coach Anthony. He’s got me doing speed deadlifts, which I believe I’m seeing lots of improvement from. I’ve also signed up for The Garden State Open competition at the scaled level. I’m excited and nervous. It’s going to be awesome.

At CFHK, we’re doing a Paleo challenge. We’re three days in. I’m going to try and blog my progress with food and WODs at least 2x per week. Let’s GO!

Burpee Schmurpee!

Well, it’s games season. What games you ask? The CrossFit Games. 60k (at last count) individual yahoos decided to compete this year. I include myself in that count of crazy yahoos. I knew I didn’t have what it took to be a serious competitor – but I signed up and gave CrossFit HQ my $20 anyway.

Why? Because I had a goal. A very simple goal. Complete one CrossFit Games Open WOD, completely RX’d. For non-CF’ers, that means completing a Workout Of the Day, as prescribed (no scaling or changing.) Oh, and goal #2, don’t be in last place.

When the 12.1 WOD was released Wednesday night, I was pretty psyched. A WOD I could do! The WOD sounds simple. 7 minute AMRAP (As Many Reps/Rounds As Possible) of Burpees making sure the athlete touches a target 6 inches above their max reach.


I did it.

And it was disappointing.


Well, it wasn’t that I only eeked out 54 burpees. I did my best. I probably could have taken less rest, but I’m still working on shutting off that little voice that says “I can’t.”

Part of the disappointment is I didn’t reach my goal of 70.

Most of the disappointment was due to about 6 no reps.

I realized that my burpee form is incredibly inefficient. Also having the target be a ring, instead of a band strung across was a bad idea. I had to look up every rep to make sure I hit the ring with both hands. I had a line on the floor and two x’s to show where my hands should hit and where the target was. That helped, but I still needed to break mid-line stabilization to look up.

On that note, check out this video from Carl Paoli of Gymnastics WOD.

I think I did everything wrong. So, I went to research what I did wrong. (pretty much everything.) Here’s some help if you’re working on your burpee!

Points of performance to note (Thanks Carl!):

  • Warm up those hips! Some of us have inflexible hips. Do some hip opening stretches (samson, samson with band) to get some extra room in those hip capsules. See Mobility WOD for more amazing Mobility help.
  • Bow up, like you’re doing upward facing dog, then tighten your butt and shoot your hips forward. This’ll save your quads.
  • Keep a tall chest. This will keep your mid-line stabilized, and help you get up to a standing position quicker.
  • If you’re burpee needs to hit a target, ala 12.1, don’t look up!

Carl Paoli also has a great burpee skill transfer series here for your perusal.

Now drop and give me 20.

Bring it, 2012!

I’ve decided to not do resolutions this year. Instead, I’ve got goals. My life goals are short, and sweet. My fitness goals are going to really test me. I’m ready. My health goals will help keep it all in line. These goals will be broken out into smaller chunks in my Nerd Fitness Challenges. I’m also planning on some grander life goals, but I haven’t really sorted out what those are yet. Stay tuned…


  • PASS the level 1 CrossFit trainer certification
  • 1 dead hang unassisted pull up
  • 10 handstand pushups
  • Add 100lbs to my deadlift(currently 175lbs) and back squat(currently 175lbs)
  • Add 50lbs to my overhead press(currently 85lbs) and bench press(currently 115lbs)
  • 100lb Snatch(currently 65lb)
  • 150lb Clean and Jerk(curently 100lb)
  • RUN a 5k
  • flexibility — I used to be able to do both front splits– get them back!


  • Find a Pulmonologist and get my asthma under control so I can run without my lungs holding me back
  • Take care of my back. whatever it takes. Research ways to strengthen my posterior chain
  • Eat paleo 80% of the time. Stay gluten free 90%.
  • Practice Radical self acceptance
  • Ask for help when I need it
  • Meditate


  • Read and complete two courses from MIT Open CourseWare
  • Read 35 books
  • Pay off debt by April, and stay debt free through the end of the year
  • Sort/Purge/Donate/Sell items I don’t need/want/use


*Photo Credit*

(This is Why I)Rock it CrossFit Style…

I’ve struggled as of late explaining to friends, family, and dates what CrossFit is, and why I do it.

It might be because I listen to a lot of Robb Wolf’s Paleo Solution Podcasts and he and Greg Everett of Catalyst Athletics aren’t fans of CrossFit in it’s current state– and I look up to those guys. But, I then remind myself that I don’t have to agree with everything my unknowing mentors say or do.

Another reason for my struggle is because CrossFit is sometimes portrayed in a “cult” light. One of my best friends teases me that I’ve joined a cult. I know it’s all in good fun with him. But it does strike a chord with me — and I’m not sure why.

I also have a hard time explaining my love of CrossFit to long time friends and family, because they’ve never seen me so in love with physical fitness. Sure, I played some sports in high school. I did Tae Kwon Do, for years as well. What they don’t know is while at summer camp, I spent about 3 hours per day in the rec center practicing gymnastics. I was the overweight kid — I was afraid to ask my parents for gymnastic lessons. I wasn’t very good, but I loved it. I was afraid to walk into a gym, and be laughed at. I was afraid EVERYONE would laugh at me.

When I walked into my CrossFit box, I was laughed at — but it was me doing the laughing. The echo of my laughter in my own head — I could DO this.

So, for all the world to see, this is why I CrossFit.

Phsyical Fitness
I’ve always been down on myself about my physical appearance. Crossfit has helped me become more accepting of myself. It has also helped me lead a healthier life. I eat right (mostly) and exercise. and LOVE it. I now have goals — and it’s not just looking better. It’s feeling better. Lifting heavier. Running farther.

Mental Fitness
There is a mental toughness that is needed to do CrossFit. You need to push yourself harder than you did the day before, every day. It’s not just when in you’re at the box. It’s all the time. When I hit a PR in the gym, it gives me the fire I need to hit a PR outside of the gym. I prove to myself that I CAN do it. I can do anything I put my mind to. And what’s amazing??? Is I actually believe it.

Spiritual Fitness
When in the midst of a workout — I can clear my head. I listen to my breath, my body and my coach. When focused on my breath and my body, nothing else matters.

*Photo Credit* *Photo Credit* *Photo Credit*